Do not underestimate Iranian threat
Max Boot made a very good case against the proposed agreement between the P5+1 group and Iran. (“A growing chorus against the Iran deal,” Voices, WJW, April 16). He noted that such well respected elder statesmen as George Shultz and Henry Kissinger had pointed out major deficiencies in the proposal. Their argument was dismissed by a State Department spokesman as “a lot of big words and big thoughts.” Perhaps the spokesperson failed to recognize how much the rest of us wish our secretary of state was capable of having a few big thoughts, instead of blindly following the president’s instructions to get an agreement at all costs.
The president seems to acknowledge that once the agreement expires, Iran will be in a position to produce nuclear warheads. He either hopes that Iran will with time, modify its hostility to the West
generally and relinquish its obsessive hatred of Israel and America, or that it can be contained.
We have no evidence to support this vain hope of modified behavior and even less evidence that Iran could be restrained once it has the weapons. Throughout the Cold War, the possession of nuclear armed missiles by both sides avoided open warfare because of the threat of Mutual Assured Destruction. In effect, we achieved deterrence because we had significant numbers of effective warheads and demonstrated our willingness to use them if necessary. What should not be forgotten is that once Iran acquires nuclear warheads, it too will have a deterrent, a deterrent that can be used to dissuade us taking any action against it.
Deterrence is a two-way street and sadly President Barack Obama and Secretary John Kerry are leading us down that unsavory lane with a nation we cannot trust to behave rationally.
Why not a ZOA U? Or AIPAC U?
Marc Caroff, of the Zionist Organization of America, in his letter to the editor (WJW, April 9), is quite correct in saying that the Zionist narrative directed at young individuals is being usurped by the likes of J Street U. This is indeed a serious, longstanding problem and a cause for major concern within the Jewish community. Caroff is also correct in calling out the “urgent need for better education to foster a greater appreciation of Zionism as a fundamental and inseparable part of Judaism and Jewish values.” However, beyond that, he poses no viable solutions, as so many others have been unable to do over the years.
How about fighting fire with fire? Why not a ZOA U or AIPAC U to counter and balance the inaccurate and biased “learning” experience provided by J Street? Effective implementation, and utilizing existing institutions and organizations, will not be easy but may not be as difficult as one might expect. For example, does Hillel bring in speakers to campuses nationwide? There are undoubtedly scores of individuals, such as myself, who would volunteer their time to set the record straight and counter what impressionable and often poorly informed young Jews hear from the likes of J Street and Peace Now.
The community should stop talking this subject to death and try something new, since whatever is being done is clearly not having sufficient impact.
Policies to help renters merit consideration
Regarding the Voices opinion piece, “Montgomery County’s executive should look toward reforms, not tax increases” by Sigurd Neubauer (WJW, April 16), I wish my friend Siggy were correct that rent control policies, like the ones that work successfully in Takoma Park, Washington, and other regions was on the cusp of serious consideration in Montgomery County.
Unfortunately, only a small number of County Council members understand its value and support such policies at this time. The remainder continue to be beholden to the developer and landlord lobby which, like many business cultures, bristles at the idea that they should play by rules they do not control. But these facts remain at issue in our county and throughout the state; more than 36 percent of county residents now live in rental housing (up from 25 percent in 2008). With just 60 days’ notice, a landlord can raise rents to any amount, or refuse to renew to a tenant without providing any reason for such an action – no matter how long the tenant lived in the building.
Renters are being priced out, evicted without cause, suffering from lack of maintenance and quality, quiet enjoyment of their premises, and other indignities.
The Renters Alliance is working hard to help renters secure their homes and stabilize their communities. We work with thousands of renters who face abuse, negligence and intimidation by irresponsible landlords, and we work with county and state officials to ensure that renters are supported. We also work with landlords to help them do what is right. Siggy’s argument is premature. But when rent control does become a serious consideration, I hope all county residents will support measures to protect their neighbors from excessive rent increases and unpredictable community security.
The writer is the executive director of the nonprofit Montgomery County Renters